Lt. Col. Robert (Dutch) Holland was a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, not a pitcher. While at spring training a B-36 flew over the field and Dutch was standing on third base. ... See full summary »
Biography of Charles Lindburgh from his days of precarious mail runs in aviation's infancy to his design of a small transatlantic plane and the vicissitudes of its takeoff and epochal flight from New York to Paris in 1927. Written by
Paul Emmons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Frank Mahoney is talking to Lindbergh just before taking off, rain spatters are clearly visible on his hat. The scene shifts to Lindbergh for a few seconds, then when Mahoney is in the scene again, the spatters have disappeared. See more »
[checking his copy]
Here at the Garden City Hotel, less than a mile from Roosevelt Field... less than three-quarters of a mile from Roosevelt Field... everyone is waiting, as they have been now for seven days and nights, waiting for the rain to stop...
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Coming across this on a tour through the works of Billy Wilder, I was prepared to be underwhelmed- possibly self-serving autobiography, possibly boring Jimmy Stewart, but I came out quite impressed.
Most surprising of all was the way that Wilder kept things moving- from the framework of the flight of the Spirit of St. Louis we cut away to various bits of back story. Some tell us about the preparation of the voyage- of the skull-sweat and innovations required to make this plane. (The plane seems so primitive- no radio, or radar- and yet, we can appreciate what a wonderful technological marvel it was) Some of the flashbacks are almost just comic relief, but they all tend to serve the story well.
As for the voyage itself, we get an excellent presentation of how to find the dramatic possibilities of a long (over thirty hours!) flight. The scenes detailing Lindbergh's exhaustion are exquisite, and we feel an almost eerie high as Stewart forces himself through.
Jimmy Stewart was humble and folksy as always, but outside the range of hokiness. During a long solo flight when he has no one else to act to, we are sucked in to the tiny world of the plane's cockpit.
Thus, overall, a very enjoyable experience- going way beyond the meagre expectations I had going in. One slight complaint is that the videotape that I watched had a jarring pan-and-scan that really seemed to subtract from the composition of a lot of shots. But what can you do?
1957, colour. Rating: 6 out of 10 (above average).
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